14 February 2013

Gambia: Update of On Prices of Basic Commodities

Following the introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT) on the 1 January 2013, people have realized increase in prices of certain basic commodities. As consumers, the people are therefore concerned with the price increases which prompted this paper to give an update on the cost of these commodities.

A visit to the Serekunda Market reveals the prices of some of the prices of these commodities before the introduction of the VAT and after it came into force. Below are some the prices:

The price of a bag of American rice used to cost D900. 00 before the VAT but now costs between D950 and D975. 00.

Sadam rice was D1,200 before but now it costs D1,325.

The small grain rice was D850 but now it is D900.

Sleeping palm oil before the New Year was D4.50 per cup but it now costs D5.00.

For pure vegetable oil, a cup was D5.00 and is now D6.00.

A candle which used to cost D5.00 is now 6.00.

Moist crystal sugar has risen from D6.00 per cup to D8.50 or D9.00 A kilo of flour was D22 or D23 dalasi but now it costs D25.

A box of match which was D1.00 is now D1.50.

Toilet soap which was D7.00 has increased to D8.00.

Talking to a shopkeeper, Mr. Saidou Sowe, on the price increases, he said they were initially scared when they heard about VAT. He blamed the lack of a price control as the cause of the price hikes. He said one can buy a commodity today and tomorrow the price is increased. He said if they buy in this manner and want resell to customers it always brings conflict.

Lamin Faal, a wholesale vendor, said the reason why the price of basic goods are rising is because of the increase in taxes. "Whenever I go to Banjul to buy goods, I find the prices increased", he said.

Musa Jallow, another shopkeeper, said for him he buys from the main stores in Banjul and that anytime he goes there, there will be a price increase on the goods. "I would buy them and also add a little on top of it to get profit", he said.

A couple were met at the entrance of the market and asked how they found the prices. Mr. Omar Sanneh, said his wife's always tell him that the prices are on the increases but today came to accompany her in order to see for himself. He admitted that things are very expensive for families to sustain themselves especially in terms of feeding. He said he is a welder who contending with the problems of the lack of both electricity and customers.

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